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bunch of retarded races that they are. incitement to violence, they are breaking the law and should be prosecuted. there is a really difficult argument that we have to confront a the issue of islamic extremism. you. for years in this country we have rightly bandit groups that incite violence and terrorism, because it is against the law. we have taken a rather more relaxed view for groups that are not absolutely inciting someone to violence, but they are inciting into extreme hectoreat. there is an argument that says in a liberal democratic society where we want to have a strong
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culture of inclusion from people of all faiths and cultures and races, we do have to stand up for a belief in democracy and intolerance of intolerance. the argument for banning some of those groups that may not incite violence, although on occasion they do, but they inside extreme hatred and are trying to set people against each other. i think there is a case for saying they are fomenting extremism and they should be banned. it is a fine argument. i would argue that the government has been backward on this, and they need to push that agenda forward. one last question. >> when are you going to do things like published data on how hospitals are performing? will you give the opportunity for councils to give a response and say there are particular reasons why we are performing particularly bad, due to demographics in certain areas of
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london? that really doesn't skew statistics. -- it really does skewed statistics. >> there is a pragmatic answer, but a philosophical one. survival rates from complex heart surgery, you will find that some of the best surgeons do the most difficult cases, and have sought not necessarily the best survival rates. you do need the opportunity for public servants to explain, are intake was different this year, and that is why the results are different. there is a pragmatic answer, but a philosophical one, you have to work out which side of the debate your honor. here you trust in people's innate good sense that we are not all a bunch of idiots. we have the sense to ask some questions.
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i basically think that in the end, if you trust people, give them the information and trust them to make the right judgment, you have a stronger and better society than one in which you say you cannot really trust people. let's give them some limited information and pass them on the head -- pat them on the head. i think we have to aim towards the maximum disclosure, trusting people the most, and allow this debate to take place in public for people can explain themselves. it is something the mp's are getting used to, belatedly, in explaining expense claims. the explanation and free debate and trusting people in every society must be had to make our country stronger. i really enjoyed coming to speak today, and thank you very much for your questions. [applause]
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domestic policy at imperial college in london earlier this summer. polls show him with a 15% lead of record browns' labor party, with national elections expected next spring. you can watch this and more of visiting our web site, c- span.org. >> coming up next, ambassador richard holbrooke talks about the situation in afghanistan and pakistan. after that, an egyptian newspaper publisher discusses the middle east peace process. then, a look at the new gm electric car, the chevy volket. >> lobbying, influence, and money. monday, ellen miller, executive director of the sunlight
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foundation, on how they use the internet to provide transparency in government. of the communicators" at 8:00 p.m. on c-span2. >> book tv weekend continues all week in prime time, with more books on the economy and politics. monday night, senate majority leader harry reid. >> the discussion now and u.s. strategy in afghanistan and pakistan with special represented richard holbrooke. topics include the upcoming presidential election. this is about an hour and a half. >> good morning everyone. i am the president of the center for american progress. thank you for joining us this morning. the center is honored to have
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ambassador richard holbrooke and his really spectacular team here today who you see in friday. we have more members in the front row. this region of the world is a primary national security concern for the united states, one that was reaffirmed by the president back in march when he made the case for a stronger, smarter, comprehensive commitment. one who is here today. ambassador holbrooke has assembled an impressive team. there is the multidisciplinary interagency nature of secretary clinton and investor who were's approach to afghanistan and pakistan which tendons on the --
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which hinges on military assets. to the best of my knowledge, this is a first. drawing all these resources under together under one roof and umbrella and insuring that it will be discussed, the why as well as the how. the need for a coordinated approach is the cornerstone of the center for american progress. the ambassadors team faces a multitude of interlocking challenges. in less than a week, afghans
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will vote in council elections for the second time since the fall of the television -- tal iban in 2001. concerned about corruption and violence, reports of electoral fraud, and the ability for the government to provide to them for into a version of this moment. beyond elections, sharp increases in roadside bombs made july the deadliest month for international coalition forces since 2001. increasing concern at home about the cost of winning in afghanistan and to what end goals we should aspire. in pakistan, the government grapples with instability and a strengthening insurgency, and economic crisis, refugee
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crisis, and persistent challenges. the situation is complex enough to challenge even this exceptional group we have assembled on stage and in the front row today. perhaps given his multitude of experiences, no one is more capable than my friend richard holbrooke to lead this team. after he gives a few brief introductory remarks, he is going to introduce his team and the people on stage will have a few minutes with a comment. we will then shift to a discussion format we can discuss some of the larger question surrounding our policies.
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i hope to focus on the implications of the upcoming election in afghanistan for our efforts there, our objectives, and how we measure progress. most critically, the threat of both countries in the conxt of broader national security prior to. thank you all for coming today. as a foreword to protect a conversation. let me turn it over to ambassador dick holbrooke. >> thank you, john. i think the center for this opportunity. when we first talked about an event, i suggested that rather than another speech by me that we bring the entire team. we actually did that have the entire team here. several people are men smissing.
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i've been privileged to work with a lot of terrific people in my career, including some people in this room who are recognized. i think this is the best team i have ever been able to work with. i am so pleased to be here today. we want to focus today on the civilian efforts. you can ask any questions you want. we are here as the civilian side of the integrated military operation. the background is simple. they stated they wanted to have a counterpart to integrate the civilian efforts. hillary, who was been instrumental in this process,
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legally we are attached to the office of state, she approves every member of this team. she knows everybody on this podium personally. it is not the great anonymous bureaucracy. she has approved everyone. she agreed immediately and encourages to reach out to other agencies. what you see here are some of the nine agencies represented on our team. the ones that were missing today, to clarify, are general field is out on personal leave. our cia rivers is it told me that he cannot be surfaced. he he is not here. our department of homeland security river is is it is not here. they are not in place. we are looking closely, because
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homeland security has a vital role in all of this. the fbi representative is in town. he is on another urgent assignment. this is not our fault him. -- full team. the mandate is clear. now i want to introduce the team. for those of you who want to discuss the elections and did not stay up late enough to see the discussion on steven cole bear -- colbert, we will discuss the. if he did not see it, you can watch it on you too. -- watch it on you to go. -- youtube. i'm going to introduce the people one by one. we will start off with barnett rubin which is an nyu professor. he is the leading american
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expert on afghanistan for the last three -- 30 years. i think all of you know who he is. he is a tremendous asset to have him on the inside telling us why everything we do is wrong is it on the outside telling us everything we do is wrong. he will give you a quick overview. each person will talk for two minutes. but everyone knows we are engaged in a difficult war. we are in the middle of presidential and provincial council elections under difficult circumstances. you will hear more about this later on. what i'm going to do is talk very briefly about what we might call setting the conditions for call setting the conditions for success
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i will talk briefly about what we call setting the conditions in afghanistan, which is on the minds of the american people. at the point when we will no longer be engaged in combat as we are and as we must be right now. their two basic elements of that. one is enabling the afghan government basically to control and govern its territory, and the second is supporting and creating a regional and international environment where the neighbors and great powers have a stake in the stability of afghanistan, rather than feeling a sense of threat from and reacting to it by state a lot read -- by destabilizing in. on the side of civilian governments, we are continuing efforts to build national governance. we have an important focus on some of national governments in cooperation with the afghan government and other donors. rebuilding the
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relationship between the seven national authorities and local communities. our security strategy is aimed at creating an environment that the supportive of competent officials rebuilding relationships with those companies. in order to do this, we have to eliminate or diminish some of the obstacles at the local level, including the presence of armed groups that have grown up in the course of this war. to make those efforts supportive, we have changed our counter narcotics policy so we are phasing out crop eradication and focusing on assisting rather than threatening the communities there.
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afghanistan cannot be stable of its members do not want it to be stable. we have a wide ranging diplomatic effort including a network of special riddances who are ambassador holbrooke's counterpart. their policy toward pockets son -- we have a policy toward pakistan and the relationship between those two countries. we are engaged in regular consultations to all the major powers. >> thank you. he mentioned my counterpart. this is a good example of the way i think the united states should lead. when president obama and secretary clinton offered me this job, there were no counterparts. within four months, there were 25, some of which are countries
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would not expect of wanted to show their involvement but the gains in the swedes -- danes and the swede in the spanish. there are three want to draw your tension to, saudi arabia, egypt, and the arab emirates. we can get the full list to anyone who wanted. on march 27, the president announced -that-is the kind of thing we do. that is the kind of international coalition building. when i began i did not properly acknowledge the center for american progress. i was honored to be part of your inaugural event in 2003. i was never invited back. [laughter] i think you are doing an extraordinary job of becoming a critical center for our effort. when we talk about where we
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should do our unveiling, we want to collething this of the . i know for a fact based on extensive discussions with people at the white house, that the role he played in the number three trip last week with president clinton was " indispensable and invaluable." it was low-key until showed up wearing that shirt oliver las vegas. that troubled me a bit. other than that, i congratulate you. >> our next speaker is another
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enormous manager of see on television many times. we are so proud that he has also joined the government full time. contrary to much stuff reported, he does not work in iran even though he is probably nation's leading expert on she is somiii. he worked primarily on pakistan. he is helping shape our strategic attitude. he will give you an overview and then we will plunge right into the operational experts. >> thank you. good morning. i think it goes without saying that the state of pakistan and afghanistan are linked together. we can see that the fight against the televisiotaliban now
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stretches across the board. the objective is to create a regional framework to bring into alignment american, afghan, and pakistani interest. equally important for our success is pakistan's stability. it is difficult to imagine a country of such vital importance and a vital key ally in that region that basis in more daunting set up. pakistani is still struggling to consolidate its transition to democracy. it has been facing a major taliban extensive. it has set up a major refugee crisis and pakistan. equally as important, pakistan's
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economy in the past year has been tempered by the major financial crisis and a severe electricity shortage that impact of businesses, people, and people measures. we have been directly in continuously engaged with pakistan. my colleague has been working very closely with pakistani officials and all the relevant agencies in washington to put together energy package is. we are also engaged in international diplomacy. you want to create a much more broad base international support for pakistan. going forward, we will continue to be very focused on pakistan poco stability. we will be working to bring
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pakistan into our framework for bringing peace. new >> when the refugee crisis hit, we had all the agencies involved and that in our offices. we were able to assemble them immediately that day in and come up with a plan. hillary clinton was in new york and giving a speech at nyu. she called and said water you doing about this. we said we were meeting right now. she said i want to meet with you as soon as i land. by the time she landed and finished a meeting, we have come up with the first hundred and $10 million.
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she then announced that at the white house. that probably accelerated the response by a week or 10 days. that is the value of this concept. each person here ties into their agency. mary beth good meman was in the front row as an economic expert. an example of that is auto gonzales. we try not to talk about which agency is their home agency, he is from the department of agriculture. he served in afghanistan. he is part of a totally integrated team. it works for us in agriculture. >> thank you. as many of you know, afghanistan
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has eight out of some people involved in agriculture. it is a sector that was devastated by a quarter century of war. we cannot succeed in afghanistan if the afghani people are not successful and agriculture. we have to fight that as a government. we spend more on trying to eradicate poppy than we did try to promote agriculture. agricultural -- revenue strategy that is new and that is in line with the programs of the afghan government and is truly with the u.s. government. all of the main actors from our government, the u.s. military on
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the reconstruction team, the army national guard, and the ministry of agriculture, were all involved in developing a strategy that aims to do two things. one is to increase in come. the other is to increase afghans confidence in their government. i mention this is something new. it is. incoherency to our program that we did not have before. -- it is bringing coherence to our program that we did not have before. we aim to increase productivity. we aim to regenerate business. we want to rehabilitate watershed in improved irrigation and a structure. our fourth objective is to improve the ministry of our culture's capacity to deliver services and to promote the
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agricultural sector. we do this in line with the afghan government. we also do it with the support of our secretary of agriculture, tom vilsack, who has launched trilateral efforts. they are focusing on three main areas, strength, to come and security -- strain, security, and trade. what we have is a strategy that is integrated, restores -- resources, and agriculture in the forefront. >> we have found so far that of all the programs we have done, this program in conjunction with the phasing out of poppy eradication, afghans may continue to do some. we are out of the business. we are not at war with the poppy
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farmers. general petraeus and i -- the combination of phasing out poppy crop eradication, upgrading agriculture, and upgrading interdiction, the military is taking down drug dealers, setting off bonfires with opium. this is the most successful thing we have done so far. we have increasing evidence that it is really disrupting the taliban internally. we are very pleased at the direction that is going. from the aid, we have to people. -- two people.
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>> good morning. picking up on what otto has discussed, we are changing the way we do business in providing development in both countries. we are focusing on capacity building and moving toward increased country leasing. [unintelligible] we want to improve governance, and justice, and rule of law. under the direction of the ambassadors in afghanistan, we are increasing the number of civilian staff. that is allowing us to move away from the large contracts and moving more toward local planters and improved accountability for the way we do our program. our increased capacity building
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ef our increased capacity building efforts are allowing us to tell more of our funds directly to the government's and allows us to do our programs more efficiently and to implement our programs more efficiently. otto mentioned the programs we do with agriculture ministry. we have already channeled some of our funds through two ministries in afghanistan. we are planning on doing more of that in the next several months, as the ministries go through additional capacity building and can show that they actually use those funds properly. we are working and increasingly through multilateral trust funds, providing additional resources to successful programs. . . area.
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all of this is trying to improve donor coronation. >> our next speaker is from the treasury department. you on of the subject is going to talk about. it is luces. it is complicated. and all of this -- a lot of the we cannot discuss in public. it is important. >> this war is being fought on two fronts. two fronts. [unintelligible] these and other terrorist raise funds externally and internally. and surely they come from kidnapping and drug trade. externally, but these groups receive funds from donors in the gulf. secretary geithner have raised these issues both domestically
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and abroad. we have formed the listed finance task force to coordinate u.s. government initiatives that threaten our efforts in the region. some of the key initiatives include counter threat finance acid building in coordination with the government's to further develop their ability to identify and deter other activities like al qaeda and the taliban. [unintelligible] another is the joint u.s. and russian federation [unintelligible] we are working with the central bank to extend the reach of banking in afghanistan.
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we will use it to pay the afghan national army and increase salaries very moving cash and the battlefield. we are also exploring ways to do business with the u.s. government and other donor countries and organizations. thank you. >> the next two presentations where when to do together. i will introduce both people. my longtime assistant and chief of staff in your, ashlandey bl balmer, and secretary gate. a preferred to call it what it really is, communications and counterpropaganda.
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>> information is as strong as a weapon as a gun they have emerged militants to gain power tears strategically timed radio broadcasts, videos, and cds. their public executions, throwing acid on girls in school, and publicizing the names of the people they want to kill every single night given the archaic values of al qaeda, we must abide policies that expose the true nature of the militants. we must ship the paradigms' of the debate is not between the united states in the militants, both between the people. we are going to use 21st century technology including mobil and radioed to empower the people. there are only for legal fm radio stations. -- four legal fm radio stations
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there. there are over 150 illegal fm low wattage stations. they are conducting a daily campaign of terror. cellphone is the fastest growing technology. the taliban are ordering cell phone companies to power down it every night. withhe lack of the information, the links between poverty in terror ring card entry. mobil banking, 97% of the country is unbanked. we are pursuing an expansion immobile banking, mobile payments, insurance companies to
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protect the power. initiatives like these and others are critical to supporting a communications and counterpropaganda strategy that protect and empowers the people. >> thank you. what ashley just discussed is central to the strategic thinking of our adversaries. they fight information wars supported by military effort on both sides. we need to think more like our adversaries.
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we are extending the reach of communication and information to populations the religion not have other than what they have locally, which is often violent messages or intimidation from our adversaries. it is not developing content that is competitive beckham provide people a message that counters what they hear from insurgents. it is about tying the population to the government in areas where they historically have not been tied. critically, a lot of this is on making sure our actions support our messages. none of this is new.
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getting our focus on it is going to require a number of significant changes. early on, most of it might be general mid crystal's rapid and tireless effort to reduce the number of civilian casualties in afghanistan. [unintelligible] our focus is on resources, resources that have been stamped but are not flowing and insuring those resources can support this kind of strategic view of how the night states uses information. it is an entirely new level of effort to get this right. it is critical. >> thank you. he mentioned averell -- admiral
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smith. we are in the process of recruiting civilian counterparts for that job. we are going to change the structure to reflect this central priority. it all depends on communications. let's now turn to the elections. we have here two tremendous resources in addition to the rest of the team. i will ask them to talk sequentially. rema is just back last night from afghanistan. she worked for the osi. she worked for the united nations during the last set of
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elections. she is well known in afghanistan. she recently joined the state department and her colleague in this will speak with a rather funny accent. that is because she is not an american engine is not an employee. jane mary it is on loan from the british government. -- marriott is on loan from the british government. we are proud to have her here. i had the experience of sitting in a meeting at the white house and we spend 30inutes debating a paper she had written. i said to my colleagues, i have to tell you, we are reading a paper written by british to lament. ira mention that because it underscores how we have other countries -- i mention that because it underscores how we have other countries such work with us.
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she is invaluable. we will turn it over to rema and jane and then i'll make closing remarks. >> thank you. president obama has to third to the elections -- has referred to the legend that the most important event of the year. i was born in afghanistan. i have been a part of every political process. i have seen it turned out over and over again. they believe this process -- in this process. these events also historic in that there the first afghanistan lead direction in afghanistan. the elections are quite historical. the most candidates that have competed in an election
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anywhere in the world. i think they are going in the guinness book of world records. there are 41 candidates, including two women. they are being contested by 3324 people. 70 million people have registered to vote. it just came back from afghanistan. the campaign season is not very different from what we see in the united states. there are campaign paraphernalia all over the country, a checkered of people's houses, cars. there are political rallies taking place all over the country. the candidates are being interviewed on radio and television stations. there are pungent -- pundits. the polls show that there are four serious contenders.
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the former minister of affairs, the former minister of finance, and the former minister of parliament terry. [unintelligible] the elections will go into a second round in early october. what is the u.s.'s position on these elections any candidates? i'm going to turn to my colleague for that. >> thank you. >> we want to see to things coming out of these elections. we want to see them capitalize on the momentum of the policy debate that has been generated. both by the candidates and in the public is itself. we want to see that.
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it will be supported by an international community. the second thing we want to see is these elections continue to build up a tour of institutions and mechanisms with and afghanistan. -- within afghanistan. a statement earlier really set the stage. the u.s. actively impartial in these elections. we want elections that are credible, pure, and closer. i want them to be seen legerdemain by the afghans and the rest of the world. -- legitimate by the afghans and the rest of the world. we will continue to reach out to the candidates to encourage them to debate the issues and what their policy platforms are. we will hold into account the
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key electoral institutions. key electoral institutions. @@@@@@@@@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @r as a role of impartial and to anna and necessary. i think what we care about the event these elections have been held since the 1970's, and they're being held in very difficult security conditions, and they will not be perfect, but we are in the clear that we expect the impossible to be done to minimize fraud and ensure the integrity of the ballot and the elections process so the these
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elections are seen as an accepted as legitimate by the afghan people and by the world. thank you. back to you, ambassador. and sure most of you know dan feldman. -- i am sure most of you know dan feldman. he will be available for questions. that is our team. i'm sorry others are not able to be here. on the elections, as rina, president obama has called this the most important event this year and afghanistan. why do we say that even though this election is undoubtedly a very difficult event? holding an election in a wartime situation is always difficult.
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holding one with the enemy has said they will try to disrupt it makes it even more difficult. holding it under historic conditions that have been alluded to, they can go on forever about how this relates to the history of the country. it is even more daunting. . . it was apparent this cannot be done on schedule because of decisions made last year, decisions that i criticized as a private citizen. the decision to ignore the constitution and delay the election has caused a reorientation of our priorities,
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for the first 6.5 months of this administration, and many issues that we would like to focus on, anti-corruption, a national reintegration amnesty program, improving the governance of the subcentral level, which barney and others alluded to, and another person particularly reference did, all of these are important in an overall counterinsurgency effort, and we are working on them, but until the election legitimizes the government, whoever wins, we have had to focus on that. as all of the recall, if you followed afghanistan, when we came into office, the country faced a constitutional issue over how to deal with the fact with the aging and abetting of the international community, the afghan constitution, the one she helped draft, was not going to be carried out.
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imagine what would happen to the united states if somebody announced the election would be delayed indefinitely? well, that is what we inherited, and the opposition would say who was going to be legitimate and who was going to roll, and we spent most of the spring of helping the afghan government -- who was going to rule so this election matters, and we will see what happens. my -- i will be leaving the day after tomorrow for afghanistan and pakistan in reverse order. pakistan first, then afghanistan then i'll fly to istanbul where the turks are hosting a friends of democratic pakistan meeting and the president's asked me to be on the scene during the elections. but i do want to emphasize that we have an extremely strock -- strong team in the american embassy and in the military command. ambassador eikenberry is superb and as the former commander of the forces in afghanistan has a
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unique ability to integrate civilian and military issues. his deputy was our gaffer -- ambassador in to -- two of the world's largest american embassies, egypt and the philippines. the number three person, who was already mentioned, tony wayne was a former assistant secretary of state and just came directly from buenos aires as ambassador. the number four person is a former ambassador as well as -- and we have an additional election unit out there headed by ambassador tim carney. on the united nations side, kai runs you asuperb operation and his senior deputy is an american. peter gathbrathe served as our first american ambassador to croatia and was the deputy in east timor so he has long u.n. experience. and on the military side, admiral mullen and general
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petraeus pure and simple sent the first team in. stan and david are the two best people now available in the united states army and as vikram importantly said and i want to draw your attention to this, the best counterpropaganda is to reduce civilian casualties and the rules of engagement have changed in a way which has produced a visible as a result -- result on the ground. if there's been less news coverage of that issue lately it's because there's been less of that terrible problem to deal with. so in closing, in closing my opening remarks, i want to be very clear. we know the difference of input and out putt and what you are seeing here is input. agriculture. pule of law. counternarcotics. the illicit financing. that's what we're doing. the payoff is still to come. we have to produce results and we understand that.
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and we're not here today to tell you we're winning or we're losing. we're not here today to say we're optimistic or pessimistic. we're here to tell you that we're in this fight in a different way with a determination to succeed under the direct personal supervision of the president as -- and secretary of state and the rest of the cabinet. and so i want to close with that and turn it back over to john and, john, thanks again for the center for american progress doing this today. >> thank you, richard. >> i want to come back to the election but i am going to ask a few questions and then we're going to open things up againing with the press. i want to come back to the elections but i want to pick up perhaps where you left off and ask a larger strategic question which is that, and let me begin by noting that when the president announced the policy after the 60-day review he laid
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out what appeared to be i think in the minds of many people a very narrow objective. which was to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al qaeda in pakistan and afghanistan and to prevent their return to either country in the future. but actually to execute against that very narrow definition of what the project was all about, you need a broad strengthening of the governmental capacity and security forces in afghanistan. you need a stronger, more committed partner in pakistan. i think this team reflects that. and reflects a much larger strategy than what is embedded in that very narrow definition that the president"pñ used on march 27. i think probably ambassador eikenberry's budget request that was recently reported reflects that again. so in that context, for, from the perspective of the mediterranean -- american people, how do you define clear
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objectives of what you are trying to succeed with as out putts against the -- how do you measure success against that broader array of problems and inputs? >> a very key question which john, you are alluding to is of course if our objective is to defeat, destroy, dismantle al qaeda an they're primarily in pakistan why are we doing so much in afghanistan? it's a legitimate question. it was addressed directly by hillary clinton in her july 15 speech at the council on foreign relations here in washington. and it's a relatively simple connection but it needs to be very explicitly stated. al qaeda and the taliban, or to be more precise the talibans,
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because pakistan taliban and afghan taliban have some connections but they are also separate in many ways and it's very elusive to analyze the inner connections. and by the way in the aftermath of mehsud's apparent death there's all sorts of reports that you've all read in the papers of inphyting and there's going to be some major readjustment coming up. we don't know what it is. we have many theories, but the connections are clear. if afghanistan is first ill re -- is fertile recruiting territory for the taliban it gives more terrain from which to operate. unless the taliban were to renounce explicitly al qaeda they are basically fighting in support of one another, so they are allidse. in secretary clinton's speech and i would draw your attention to this, she laid out the fact
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that if -- that we would support the reintegration into afghan society of any people fighting with the taliban who renounce al qaeda and lay down their weapons and reintegrate peacefully but on your key point, the question we're always asked, i think it needs to be stated very clearly that if you abandon the struggle in afghanistan, you will suffer against al qaeda as well. but we have to be clear on what our national interests are here. >> i guess what i'm asking is can we settle for a reconciliation process, a weak state, and continued intervention, destruction of al qaeda forces in pakistan? as we've seen just this last week. >> i think that you say a weak state -- >> is that a, an acceptable end state? >> i think we have to be reasonable about afghanistan.
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as barney said at the outset, it's the poorest nation in the world outside of africa. it's been torn apart by 30 years of war. we're going to help rebuild it. the military part of this struggle with american troops is not an open-ended event. but our assistance, our civilian assistance is going to continue for a long time. i can't give you dates. and we will help strengthen the government. that has to be part of our mandate. the specific goal you asked, john, is really -- it's really hard for me to address in specific terms but i would say this about defining success in afghanistan and pakistan. in the simplest sense the supreme court test for another issue, we'll know it when we see it. ok. >> let me -- rinna gave a, i think, very great backdrop to the election. let me ask you a question about
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that. i think some observers believe it's not the taliban or insurgency that's so strong but the government of afghanistan that's so weak and there's a lot being built into -- you quoted the president being the -- with respect to the election this year. do we have any expectation that this national election that includes provincial elections will change the weakness of the government going forward? >> couldn't be a more important issue. i asked the ambassador particularly to focus on that issue and without going into too many details let me say that after the post election phase is completed and i stress that we aren't going to know on the evening of august 20 who won, cnn is not going to call this election -- >> well, we may, but we still
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-- they may but we still won't know. >> so all 41 candidates may call it. but the process will take a while. the ballots have to be brought into kabul to be counted. hundreds and hundreds of observers out there. i think something like 600 or 800 journalists have already registered to cover it from around the world, including i think some of you in this room. we -- after this process has determined a winner and there will be disputes. they aren't american elections. we only picked a senator from minnesota just a few weeks ago after a rath elengthy delay and so after this is settled, we will be looking to the government and when i say we i want to echo what jane marriott said. we means the international community. this has been one of the main this has been one of the main topics that i've
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we will be asking the government to reinvigorate or reinvigorate, if this is a different president, the leadership in these fields that you have heard today. the reason we start with agriculture is that that was the -- we start our presentations with agriculture today. that was the least controversial program, and, astonishingly, the u.s. government was spending more money eradicating poppy crops than building of agriculture. it made no sense to us. by reversing it, we were able to jump-start that issue. many issues, like amnesty, anti- corruption, were deferred, as i said earlier, and, john, we are going to be tried very hard to help the afghans, and i want to go back to something that was said -- we are going to be trying. less than 10% of american assistance was going through the government.
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through the government. it was going to contractors. if any of you are in this room, be warned, we're going to try to cut the contracts down. we just have to because of the way -- because of the way they work. they're not flexible. they undermine the very government we're trying to strengthen. an example, we found a $30 million contract for women's programs that was going to be given out to somebody, to some n.g.o. or some consultant and weust cancelled the contract and turned the money over to the embassy for an ambassador's fund on women's programs. that way we can increase our flexibility and respond to this hugely important issue. and secretary clinton's women's advisor, your old colleague milanda deer, went out there with ashley bommer and they had a fantastic trip. these programs will be implemented. we have about 20 of them. only discussed a few today.
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after the election, because with whoever is elected. we have to try to strengthen the government bearing in mind all the inherent problems. the biggest single problem we're going to face, i'm going to be very honest with you, is going to be strengthening the police. no question. unfortunately we didn't have our police team here today and it's a whole active issue but the police in any -- whole different issue but the police in any counterinsurgency, guerrilla wars, i spent a lot of my life working in these areas, you can't do it unless the police take over a key role in security after the military forces do the clearing. this point was made quite well in an article i don't entirely agree with in last weekend's wall street journal. i didn't agree with everything in it but the emphasis on police was correct. so we have a vast array of programs which have been deferred by the delay ithe election which we hope to emphasize as the military
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pushes forward and disrupts the taliban. that in turn going back to your first question, john, that in turn we know will weaken the links between taliban and al qaeda and together with the dramatic events in pakistan in the last week and a half which are enormously important, but we don't exactly know how, we just they they're important, are the direction we're trying to go. >> al: vexing question in my mind is the role of iran in the region. we had cooperation earlier from inan the now putting tremendous diplomatic and other pressure
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on them. do we need support from iran and afghanistan to succeed? what's the tradeoff? maybe another way of asking that question is what's the greater threat to national security if you can opine on that. what's going on in iran or in afghanistan or pakistan? >> i can't opine which is the greater threat because a nuclear iran would be a very great threat not only to us but to everyone. nor do i work on iran. but i do want to make very clear that while i don't have an iranian count part, the -- counterpart, the -- we recognize geography and its realities and anyone in this room who's been to herat, as ashley bommer and i have on a trip as -- and many of you know that herat is in a kind of
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cultural economic orbit with political influence from iran, iran has a legitimate role to play in the resolution of the afghan issue. but whether they will play it or not depends on a lot of other critical factors and that's really about all i'd like to say on that issue now. but we are completely aware of the iranian factor and they went and i would also draw your attention to one other fact. on april 17 in tokyo at the pakistan pledging conference, the iranians came and pledged $330 million in an international conference to pakistan. so they are a factor and to pretend they're not as was often done in the past doesn't make much sense and you pointed out that i -- a critical point that in bonn were -- where
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rinna was, they did help stand up the current government. >> my other yeah -- question was on the geography between pakistan and india. is it critical that the united states try to play a role? that's on really problematic with respect to the indians in terms of defusing tensions between india and pakistan. is that outside 9 postal -- the portfolio of this group? >> it is outside the portfolio of my job. on the other hand, i am in constant touch with the indians. i met with the indians continually. the new ambassador in washington and i have had dinner recently and she and i are in close touch. i go to indio whenever the schedule permits. i stress we're completely transparent. the secretary of state and my close colleague assistant
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secretary for south asia, central asian affairs bob blake and i were in india recently and the indians are a major factor in the region. they're the dominant power. improveb -- improving u.s.-indian relations ha been a continual goal of the last three u.s.strations, all which i think have been successful in that regard, starting with president clinton's trip in 2000. i will keep the indians fully informed and i have an indian counterpart who i keep fully informed in india. >> ok. going to open it up. [unaudible question] >> i'm not going to stand so i don't block the cameras. >> please identify yourself. >> martha raddatz from abc news. ambassador holebook i know you want to talk about the civilian side of this. >> but you don't? >> but the security is so
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intergind. tell me how that is affecting what you're trying to do, what kind of a hindrance that is, what hads to happen in order for you to succeed and as part of that i want to sigh that a lot of people i talk to, civilians in afghanistan complain that they really can't go outside the wire in certain areas because of the security. >> you mean the americans? >> yes. >> let me start with the second question because we're really changing that, martha. when's the last time you were in kabul? >> about a month or so ago. >> all right. so you may have noticed then, you say the wire. the first thing that the new team did was cut wire down symbolically around the compound. they used to need permission. they used to drive in an armored car from the embassy across the street to the a.i.d. compound. they had to drive. that's all being changed. they have changed the curfew
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regulations, extended the curfew from midnight to 2:00 a.m. you no longer need 72 hours prior permission to leave the compound. you can leave on -- you don't need permission at all. . you just notify people where you're going. it made no sense to any of us when we came in. we send people over there and put them under restraints they can't work. now we have to protect them but we're doing it to gib them much more discorrection. -- discretion. we have also guaranteed any person who goes to afghanistan for the united states government that if his or her spouse wishes to work in the mission, we will guarantee them a job. so far the first time, we have tandem couples in significant numbers starting with ambassador eikenberry himself. and so on that point we agree with you completely. it was a self-denying situation
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and i will continue to talk about it with the security officers and ambassador eikenberry. on your first point, i of course -- of course security is the underlying component. that's why i mentioned the police. without security you can build a school, you can build a bridge, and one grenade, one mine sets it off. so we understand the did, completely the integration of the two. but as you've seen and this is refered in a lot of reporting been done lately including the washington post piece on page 3 this morning by karen de young and her colleague, we are trying to integrate the civilian and military. general petraeus and i and our whole teams have had two full-day sessions on this to
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integrate. if i go into details i'm going to take up a lot of time for smug already know but of course you can't could civilian growth unless you have security. it's obvious. what? >> [inaudible question] >> i think that general mcchrystal and secretary gates, and general petraeus have addressed the troop question very fully and i think there's a process underway the integrity of which i think we must respect. >> beth mendelsohn with voice of america, the afghanistan service. if one of the candidates doesn't get 50% and this goes into a second round and things get complicated there, what are the constitutional laws that are in place?
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can karzai call the loya jirga? and also if it goes the way some of the things did in iran, what is the united states prepared to do in these circumstances? >> rinna? >> i'd like barney to comment on this as well. if there is a security situation then there are stipulations where a loya jirga can be called. but i'd like barney to speak in more detail about this as well. >> well, i'm not sure what your question is about. according to the constitution if no one gets more than 50% of the vote, then a second round has to be held within two weeks of the date of announce mentd of the result. perhaps your question is what is -- if there is civil conflict and it is not possible to do that. we of course do not want to address hypothetical questionsb3 like that. there is an international presence in afghan government that is our partner and if such
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an unfortunate scenario sha rise there are policies and institutions on the rise to address it. >> thank you, mr. ambassador. sky news. the british and u.s. troops as well as the nato troops will be watching this very closely within their own compound. what message does this administration and do you, mr. ambassador, want to project to the troops in-country right now in >> you mean what message do we want to address to the u.s. and allied troops? >> yes >> um -- >> in edgerrin james tv the election -- >> well, every trip we make out there we always meet with the troops and talk with them -- them about why they're there to find out how they feel at the lowest levels, particularly on the front lines which are really dangerous. and i think the troops really do -- they don't love it out
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there. they're carrying 120 pounds of equipment on their back in 120 degree heat and i'm not making those numbers up. and it is an extraordinary thing to see. but they know why they're there. they know exactly going back to john podesta's opening question, they under the causal connection between their presence and 9/11. they under their mission. and they are now more and more trained for the integrated civilian military. otto, you may have noticed that otto mentioned in his agriculture presentation. national guard units from texas , nebraska, several states have agricultural development teams which they are very proud of in uniform. the military is supporting these programs. vikram discussed the initiative
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on counterpropaganda. i stress nobody likes to be out there. it's very tough work. but i felt that they really but i felt that they really understood it. we will start with karen and did a question over there. karen? -- and take a question of there. >> karen with the washington post. i would like to go back to the question of iran. barney said the we were in regular consultations with all major neighbors who have a stake in afghanistan, and i wondered what that meant in terms of iran and also, if you could give us an up-to-date assessment of the iranian activities in afghanistan, particularly the provision of weapons training and advice to insurgents. >> well, karen, in regards to all neighbors, barney did not mean to include iran. we do not have any direct contacts with them on this, but
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you can judge for yourself by their statements. what was the second part of your question? i am sorry. the what? oh, are the iranians training? we get conflicting reports on that. do you want to address that? that? >> there's certainly -- you know, i didn't comment on it. i wouldn't want to get any -- the most current information i don't have. certainly the iranians have in the past troy -- provided some arms to certain groups inside afghanistanity i do not think it's been viewed from a defense perspective as a substantial effort or a substantial threat. i do not have the most recent information more you, however. >> i think for the benefit of people who don't follow this issue closely i'd add one very publicly known but underexamined fact. iran has arguably the highest
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-- the largest problem as a percentage of adult population of drug addiction in the world and those drugs are coming across the afghan border. it is a major concern to them. they've admitted to a very high number. don't hold me to this but i think five million. it may be higher. and there is obviously a very high imperative on this. you also will note that in the declaration that president obama and. medvedev gave during the moscow trip there was a specific paragraph on the russian concern with the drug trade in afghanistan and its effect on russia, with a particular emphasis on precursor chemicals. so i mention this because if you look -- barney dade -- said earlier about strategic parallelism but not fully integrated policies -- there
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are these issues which every other country in the region and all the way through to europe and this includes another afghan neighbor, china, all share and this is one of them. >> yeah, hi. simon denny from reuters here. i wanted to pick up on something ashley and vikram are talking about, propaganda. the taliban are going around telling people in afghanistan that the russians were here for 10 years, the americans have been here for seven, you know, stick around, we're going to be on the winning side and it's changing that perception of who the winning side is going to be which is crucial to getting the villagers to actually support your goals. and i just wondered, you know, i understand that the military commitment can't be open-ended, that the goals have to be realistic but can you really tell the afghan people you're here, the military's here until
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you provide security, development, and democracy and not just at a presidential level but democracy at a local too. is that commitment still there from the international community to do that? >> great question. barney and rinna, would you comment? >> well, first, you accurately describe the message from the taliban. the situation, however, is quite different. the soviet invasion of afghanistan was condemned by virtually the entire world community and the -- it was one of the major factors actually isolating the soviet union. the operation in afghanistan of which the u.s. is a part and it plays a leading role is perhaps the most fully multilateral operation in history which commands the support of at least officially if not unofficially as i mentioned, of
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virtually every government and every international organization. i don't think it's crass to say that we are committed to waging a war in afghanistan until afghanistan is a perfect democracy which would seem to be what you implied, nor would we make did, nor would we expect people to believe such an unrealistic commitment but i believe we are committed and it is realistic to ask believe -- people to believe that we are committed to fight there until we are security from terrorist attacks launched from there and until the region is free from the danger of nuclear terror and other forms of danger that would be extremely dangerous. >> rinna? >> one of the first places i went when i returned to afghanistan in 2002 right after the taliban fell, overnight you
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could see that there was a tremendous level of enthusiasm for this process from the afghan population. the afghan population does want this process to succeed. they need to see a commitment and i do believe the changes that this administration has brought about is certainly something that is increasing confidence among the afghan people. afghanistanans are pragmatic, realistic. they just want to be confident that they are going to have a partner in this process and i think that's something that this administration is showing and demonstrating. >> why don't we go to the front? >> my name is wande, i'm with the south asia voice of america and my question is about the legitimacy of the election. only earlier this week i think it was the british ambassador to afghanistan who said there will be a very low turnout and also the security yisheds --
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issues. who is going to decide the result of elections to be legitimized? the concern is here, in afghanistan they're watching the situation in iran and other groups. >> no, this is obviously a central issue. who will decide the legitimacy of the election? there are thousands of observers, international an -- and domestic. there's going to be enormous media including the voice of america. i gave you an interview yesterday about all this. but you know, my own answer is it ends up being the media, frankly. not an answer that john podesta probably thinks is the right one but the truth is that all of what happens in any distant place is in the end reduced to the simple headlines of media. and you take the three most obvious recent examples, iran, kenya, and zimbabwe. no one knows what actually happened there.
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what you know is what you think you know, thanks to the media. in all three cases, by the way. i think they covered it quite accurately and i know something about those countries. so i will leab it to you to report. we're going to do the best we can along the lines we've discussed earlier. as everyone here has said, nobody is looking for a level of perfection in an election to which we are ourselves don't always achieve, to put it mildly. and the -- so we're just going to do the best we can. this election was called for under the constitution. it shouldn't have been delayed. it was. we have put an enormous amount of effort into it, we being the international community. >> the leading commission will be the body that ultimately
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decides what the result is and the point is that it will be about the media and the international election observers and government staff statements in behaving responsibly, not speculating too much and allowing the i.e.c. to take forward its work, allowing the electoral commission to address and adjudicate on complaints, are the best way to come -- your mike was down. could you state the front end of your answer? >> yeah. the front end was ultimately the afghan electoral authorities, the independent election commission will have the say on the election and making sure we don't speculate too much on the legitimacy. >> and there -- will there be challenges to the election? there are in every other democracy. i think we should assume those. >> it's generally recognized that afghanistan is unwinnable
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as long as the taliban and al qaeda have privileged areas in the areas on the afghan border. i'm just wondering why fattah did not come up this morning. >> we did talk about fattah, but there were no questions. i agree with you on the larger framework. i prefer to use the word "succeed" rather than "win" because this war isn't going to end on the battleship missouri or as you alone in this room can attest, in geneva, because you were alt that famous conference. the issue of pakistan and the sanctuaries is central to success. that's why president obama took these two countries and hillary clinton and asked for a separate organization which you see here before you. just for a point of reference on how different it is, up to
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january 20, afghanistan and pakistan were not only in the south asia bureau, but they had different deputy assistant secretaries in charge of them. so the integration -- there was no integration until you got up about three levels. now we have a single desk and everyone on this podium and any colleagues here works in both countries. and with all the other countries. now to your question. this is an enormously important issue. the end of mehsud as we all know is a very big deal and as i said earlier we don't know how it's going to play out but we know that the reports you've been reading in the press of disarray among his people, of other factions maneuvering, al qaeda has to decide what to do because mehsud was sort of like an independent subsidiary of
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yadier -- al qaeda, focused on pakistan, but some of the other groups in the area were focused on afghanistan. everyone is thrark around. there are -- thrashing around. there are unconfirmed reports of a shoot-out during the leadership meeting. this is very good news for all of us. equally important, arnaud, the pakistani people are converging on a consensus on the importance of this. i think this will pave the way for redoubled efforts. i know we're running out of time but i'd like to ask vali, who is really one of the great experts on this, he lived in pakistan for years and has a network of friends that there -- that is extraordinary, to add additional comments that this. >> it's no longer enough to just think of this as a sanctuary contributing to
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fattah. fattah is still a very important locale for afghan taliban as well as pakistan taliban. the zone of taliban operation rups much farther east and south and north. and what we are seeing is that to bring pakistani and afghan and american interests into alignment to deal with what is now a much broader regional problem, so what we're seeing is the pakistanis have engaged and the ultimate conclusion of this fight against the pakistani taliban will have to have a resolution of the fattah problem. so we are seeing much more of the hammer and anvil approach and in ard to succeed we'll have to maintain that kind of a relationship and cooperation with pakistan. >> robert, last question. >> good morning. i'm bob dreyfuss from the
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nation magazine. do you think when you are involved in all this do you have in mind that there's a domestic political clock here in which americans could look at this and as you said know it when they see it and decide that this isn't succeeding? and also do you think that al qaeda's comments about negotiating with the taliban leadership were helpful and constructive? >> whose comments? >> the u.n. did, kaida. >> oh, yeah. >> that we should start talking to the top leadership of the taliban rather than trying to peel away the local people? >> on the second question i haven't seen the full text. in the contempt -- context i saw them in they seemed to be consistent with our positions and those of everyone else. on your first question, i can't answer your question. no one can. but i can t

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